Pulling off a US$10 million jewel heist is one thing — but finding a buyer is another, said experts, who predicted that the robbers who targeted Kim Kardashian would struggle to dispose of their loot.
Kardashian, the world’s highest-paid reality TV star, was held up at gunpoint in a luxury Paris apartment in the early hours of Monday.
The robbers made off with a ring worth 4 million euros (US$4.5 million) and a case of jewelry with a value of 5 million euros.
French Union of Jewelers and Watchmakers acting president Sandrine Marcot said the value of the haul would “crash” due to the media hype around the heist and the highly recognizable stolen goods.
“Everyone knows that ring. It won’t be easy to get rid of it,” a police source said.
Last week, Kardashian had posted a Twitter photograph of her left hand sporting a huge diamond sparkler — reportedly a 20-carat ring by Lorraine Schwartz given to her by her husband, rap star Kanye West.
“These are not everyday jewels. These are unique pieces,” Marcot said, predicting the spoils of the raid would be cut into smaller gems to conceal their origin.
Precious stones often come stamped with a laser mark, making them “extremely easy to trace,” Marcot said.
Some laser marks are so deep they are impossible to cover up, but others can be concealed by savvy polishing, making the stone “difficulty to identify, unlike, for example, a stolen painting,” the police source said.
In most cases, the robbers work with several intermediaries, including a shady jeweler in charge of whittling down the gem into less conspicuous stones, but a gem that has been recut is worth only a fraction of its initial value.
Kardashian’s ring could lose three-quarters of its value after being reworked, the police source said.
Yet, despite the difficulty in disposing of eye-popping jewels, they still exert a powerful pull on thieves, with Monday’s robbery the latest in a string of brazen heists in France in the past decade.
However, just stealing precious gems and rendering them unrecognizable does not make for the perfect crime.
Robbers also need to have connections in the jewelery business to get a good price for their spoils.
The gang that walked into the exclusive Harry Winston store in Paris in 2008 disguised as women, walking away with loot worth up to 85 million euros, failed miserably at the final hurdle.
Knowing nothing about jewelery, the leader of the gang from the Paris suburbs entrusted the sale to a friend.
His friend’s gem trading acumen proved rudimentary. In four deals, he managed to amass only 483,000 euros.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered